Archive: August 13th, 2009

What To Do With Billy Wagner (and JJ Putz)

billy-wagner-pitch
Reports are that Billy Wagner is throwing 94 MPH and, barring a setback in Florida on Friday, could return to Flushing as soon as Sunday.

Naturally, the plan will be to showcase the lefthander, in the hopes of pulling off a late-season trade. But it should also be an audition for next year.

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Cavalry Updates

In the old westerns, there would be an image of the cavalry arriving from the distance. But the men on horses would be moving TOWARD the camera, not AWAY.

In the case of the Mets, it appears the cavalry is moving away from our point-of-view. Or perhaps it is an optical illusion.

Carlos Delgado, who had been “very close” to returning, has suffered a setback — a strained oblique. His hip feels great, though. Yee ha. According to the new face of the Mets John Ricco:

“The thought is possibly in a couple of weeks he could be back swinging”

Well super-duper. A “couple” weeks takes us into September. And “swinging” is not necessarily “playing”.

While Billy Wagner is pitching well and should be joining the Mets this weekend in Flushing, there is no news on John Maine nor J.J. Putz. Further, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes remain in New York, rather in Florida rehabbing. And we’re all on the edge of our seats wondering what’s going on with Ramon Martinez … I mean, how long does it take to heal from a dislocated pinky?

In regard to all the disabled players, and the fact there are less than 50 games left in the season, Ricco went on to provide this breaking news:

“You’re going to run out of days at some point”

Ricco may speak slightly more eloquently than Omar Minaya, but the messages are just as mixed and useless.

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Brewers DFA Bill Hall

billy-hallAs part of a flurry of moves intended to shake up the ballclub, the Milwaukee Brewers have designated Billy Hall for assignment.

Hall has another year and over $8M left on his contract, a hefty sum unlikely to be picked up by an opposing team.

In the past few days, Brewers also DFA’d pitchers Nick Green and R.J. Swindle; sent shortstop J.J. Hardy to the minors; promoted shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar and pitchers Jesus Colome and Jason Bourgeois; demoted pitchers Tim Dillard and Chris Smith; signed OF Corey Patterson; acquired pitcher David Weathers; and fired pitching coach Bill Castro.

Why are the Brewers making all these moves? Because GM Doug Melvin is making a last-ditch attempt to salvage the season, and give the team a shot at the postseason.

The 55-58 Brewers are in fourth place, 7.5 games behind the NL Central leading Cardinals, and one slot ahead of the Mets in the Wild Card standings. Things don’t look great, but Melvin is not about to give up on his team. The moves may not make a difference, but his feeling is that the way they were going wasn’t working, so a change was in order.

This is the same GM who last year fired his manager with 12 games left to play, in an attempt to end a late-season collapse. Remember how that turned out?

In any case, Bill Hall will likely clear waivers. At the Major League minimum, he might be worth auditioning for a 2010 job. Not as a starter, mind you, but in a super utlity role. I would not expect him to stop swinging and missing, nor would I expect to see him hit 35 homeruns again. But he brings other things to the table — namely, versatility, a good glove, strong fundamentals, hustle, and occasional pop. He is a younger version of Fernando Tatis, and someone who would be nice to have on the bench.

But, I think that another team in contention will take a chance on Hall for exactly that reason. In addition, he is an emotionally driven player, and will be motivated to prove the Brewers wrong. My bet is he signs with someone like the Cubs or Cardinals and has a big September, doing just well enough to fool some team into signing him to a two-year deal over the winter. (Not unlike the time Scott Schoeneweis parlayed the end of the 2006 season into a 3-year, $11M contract.)

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Viva Pedro Martinez

pedro-phillie1As if things couldn’t get worse for Mets fans, Pedro Martinez made good in his first start in 2009, allowing the Cubs 3 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings en route to his first win as a Philadelphia Phillie.

Yes, Pedro fulfilled the prophecy of being “only” a five-inning pitcher. But, he doesn’t need to be much more at the back-end of the Phillies rotation. And anyway, how many starters on the Mets not named Johan are a lock to pitch five innings these days?

But who cares, right? The Mets aren’t going anywhere this year, anyway. Pedro would have stolen valuable innings from people who could help the team in the future, such as Tim Redding and Elmer Dessens.

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